Civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal says she identifies herself as black, despite claims that she is actually white.
On June 15, the race activist resigned from the anti-racism organization NAACP, after her parents said she was pretending to be black.
Speaking to NBC, Rachel Dolezal said that from the age of five she “was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon”.
Rachel Dolezal added that she “takes exception” to suggestions she had deceived people.
“This is not some freak-show, Birth of a Nation blackface performance,” she told NBC’s Matt Lauer.
“This is on a real connected level how I’ve had to go there with the experience.”
Rachel Dolezal’s estranged parents say her origins are mostly white, with a small amount of Native American ancestry. They say that she has no black origins.
They have produced childhood pictures of her daughter with pale skin, freckles and fair hair.
According to new reports, in 2002, Rachel Dolezal sued the historically black Howard University for discriminating against her for being white.
She subsequently claimed to be the victim of hate crimes for being black.
Rachel Dolezal, then known as Rachel Moore, received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Howard University 13 years ago.
Court documents, obtained by the Smoking Gun website, show that Rachel Dolezal sued Howard University for “discrimination based on race, pregnancy, family responsibilities and gender”.
As part of her claim, Rachel Dolezal alleged that some of her artwork had been removed from an exhibition in order to favor black students.
She said the art was removed from the 2001 exhibition because Howard University was “motivated by a discriminatory purpose to favor African-American students over”.
The case was dismissed in 2004 with no evidence found that Rachel Dolezal had been discriminated against. That decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2005.
Rachel Dolezal was ordered to pay costs of $2,728.50 to Howard University.
It is estimated that 93% of Howard University students are black, while only 1% are white.
On June 15, Rachel Dolezal announced her resignation as president of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Spokane Chapter in Washington in the wake of the race row.
An online petition calling for her to step down received hundreds of signatures. Rachel Dolezal had already lost her job as a lecturer in African-American studies at a local university.
According to the Spokesman-Review, Rachel Dolezal said she was a mix of white, black and American Indian on her application to serve on Spokane’s citizen police ombudsman commission in January.
Spokane’s ethics committee said it was investigating the allegations, in addition to a separate investigation related to Rachel Dolezal on a different matter.